AC Transit boardmember hasn’t filed campaign finance reports since 2010; faces $60k FPPC fine

AC Transit Board Director Mark Williams

AC TRANSIT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
AC Transit Board Director Mark Williams did not face a credible opponent during his 2014 re-election campaign. Yet, the two-term boardmember, who is also up for re-election this June, repeatedly failed to file campaign finance reports for more than four years.

Later, this month, the state’s Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) is set to levy a hefty $60,000 fine against his campaign committee for the indiscretion.

Williams, who also served as his campaign’s treasurer, failed to file campaign reports between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2016–in all, blowing through 12 different filing dates, the FPPC determined. A maximum $5,000 fine is typically assessed for each violation.

Making matters worse, Williams did not respond to a Notice of Defense within 15 days of its accusation. The 15-day period ended on Aug. 14, 2017. According to FPPC, failure to respond to the notice is tantamount to waving a hearing before the commission.

Williams, though, contacted the FPPC last month in an effort to begin reconciling his campaign account. This necessitating postponement of a Dec. 21 hearing. However, Williams never followed through, according to the FPPC. A hearing is scheduled in Sacramento on Jan. 18.

Williams’ Ward 4 district is made up of residents in the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Castro Valley; and portions of Hayward and San Leandro. In 2014, Williams won 58 percent of the November General Election vote over a candidate named Murphy McCalley.

However, due to Williams’ lack of transparency, voters were effectively left in the dark when it came to who funded his campaign, and how much; along with a sense of how he spent its proceeds.

“By failing to timely file these pre-election campaign statements,” according to the complaint, “Williams hid his campaign activities from his opponent and the public.” Williams’ last filing came in late 2010 and reported $6,297 in remaining cash.

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